Coursing and the Upper Classes in Victorian Ireland

Magee, Jonathan (2008) Coursing and the Upper Classes in Victorian Ireland. Sport in History, 28 (3). pp. 491-511. ISSN 1746-0263

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This case study explores the commitment of the second Lord Lurgan, Charles Brownlow (1831–1882), to the sport of coursing. Brownlow was a Protestant Whig peer and large landowner in Lurgan in County Armagh, whose wealth was based on land, agriculture, linen manufacture and market revenues. The paper sets both coursing and the Brownlow family in their historic contexts. Brownlow was strongly committed to coursing, and organized, entered and provided much of the prize money for the Lurgan coursing meeting from 1858 to 1877. He was president of the meeting and hosted leading visitors at his country house, while also acting as steward at meetings elsewhere. He bred greyhounds, and was also involved in English coursing, most successfully as a leading member of the exclusive Altcar Club near Liverpool. He won the leading British coursing event, the Waterloo Cup, three times with his dog, Master McGrath, wins that were popularly seized upon as Irish triumphs. His love of coursing, and high spending to maintain his involvement, contributed to financial problems, forcing him finally to abandon his hobby and sell up the estate.

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